HLC/NCA Self-Study 2009-12 Process

St. Charles Community College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The North Central accreditation, along with transfer agreements with four-year colleges and universities, assures the value of credits earned at SCC. Courses taken for credit at SCC will be accepted in transfer by other colleges provided they are appropriate to the degree sought.

In November 2011, the college will be evaluated by a team who will review the college’s policies and practices to determine if the college will be granted continued accreditation.  To prepare for that visit, the college is charged with producing a Self Study of the institution for review by the team prior to their visit.

The Self-Study Process in Accreditation*

The Higher Learning Commission builds its comprehensive evaluations for initial and continued candidacy and for initial and continued accreditation on two major processes: institutional self-study and peer evaluation. An institution scheduled for accreditation review has the prerogative to plan and conduct the self-study process in a way that leads to its preferred continuous improvement yet still provides evidence to the Commission that it fulfills the Criteria for Accreditation. The organization summarizes its findings in a self-study report, which constitutes formal application for the Commission action desired and serves as the frame of reference for the review that the evaluation team conducts.

While acknowledging the institution’s freedom to create its own self-study design, the Commission believes that certain attributes are essential to a successful self-study process. An effective self-study process:

  • Fits the distinctive nature of the organization
  • Achieves stated goals that guide the design and the conduct of the process
  • Ensures effective evaluation of the whole institution
  • Promises to have an impact on the institution beyond the Commission visit
  • Engages multiple constituencies of the institution
  • Builds naturally on existing and ongoing self-evaluation processes
  • Has strong presidential and board support
  • Draws on the expertise and credibility of recognized leaders throughout the institution
  • Maintains regular and effective communication links with institutional constituencies
  • Produces evidence to show that the Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation are met
  • Produces a self-study report that meets the Commission’s needs
  • Testifies to the institution’s commitment to peer review

More information about this process is available in Chapter 5 of the Handbook of Accreditation.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation and one of two commission members of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), which is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. The Higher Learning Commission accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region.

*Information courtesy of the Higher Learning Commission’s website, http://www.ncahlc.org.

Contact Info

Sharon Schreiber

HLC/NCA Self-Study Steering Committee Co-Chairs:

Barbara Keim
Vice President, Technology, Research and Planning

Teddy Norris
Professor, English